A Marriage Made at Woodstock

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Frederick Stone fondly remembers attending Woodstock as a college student, for it was there he met his beloved wife, Chandra. In the passing of twenty years, however, Frederick and Chandra have grown apart. He has become an accountant who spends most of his day at home, in front of his personal computer; she has continued to lead protests and teaches psychological seminars to the open-minded of Portland, Maine.

Except for contact with clients through his business and his weekly trip to the local supermarket, Frederick has withdrawn from the confusing world, finding solace in computer software packages and modem links. He does not hide his disdain for Chandra’s clients, and when he fails to recognize his own nephew, Chandra walks out.

At first, Frederick believes she will return any day; nevertheless, he is panic-stricken. He reopens communications with his brother, Herbert, a divorced veterinarian who frequents the China Boat for mandarin duck and twenty-something dates.

Although Frederick refuses to join in his brother’s predation, his drinking increases until solitary martini lunches become a daily occurrence. Frederick neglects his accounting business, eventually losing all of his clients, while he examines his past to unlock the mystery of why Chandra left him. The death of his mother causes further reevaluation as Frederick recalls the painful rejections of this parents.

Gradually, Frederick realizes that, not only has he changed vastly from the 1960’s peace protester who went to Woodstock, but that his heart was never really into the experience. Humbled and adrift, Frederick begins a new life without Chandra, determined to contribute his modest talents to helping the world.